Launch of Wellbeing Governors campaign – Friday 11 September 2020

This week I report on the Governors for Schools new Wellbeing Governors campaign, HSE plans to carry out telephone safety checks with schools and the latest news on plans for next year’s A Level and GCSE examinations.

Wellbeing governors
On Tuesday Governors for Schools launched a year-long campaign (Wellbeing Governors) to highlight why they think link governors for wellbeing are vital on school governing bodies.

Working with Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity, over the next few months they will share blogs on key topics around mental health and wellbeing, questions for link governors to ask at meetings and best practice.  They are also hosting a panel about pupil wellbeing later this month via a webinar and you can register your attendance here.

Health and Safety Executive plans telephone safety checks and possible follow-up visits in schools
The HSE will be calling schools to check on plans for keeping pupils and staff safe and reducing the transmission of coronavirus.  During these calls, the HSE will also check on schools’ risk assessments, and if any concerns are raised, on-site visits may be conducted.

Schools have been told to ensure staff are aware that these checks are taking place and that designated individuals are familiar with their school’s risk assessment.

Ofqual chair suggests using online tests as a back-up plan for 2021 exams
According to Ofqual whatever next Summer’s circumstances are, exams will go ahead in some format. In last week’s Education Select Committee hearing, Ofqual was asked what the 2021 exam series will be like, including what contingency plans will be in place if pupils are unable to sit traditional exams.  Ofqual’s Chair, Roger Taylor, said it is “absolutely essential that students are themselves able to take part in some kind of fair, comparative test that gives them the ability on a level playing field to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and to be able to influence their own future”.

When asked further about how this would operate in areas under local lockdown, Mr Taylor said: “There are mechanisms including, for example, using online tests. We feel we have enough time [to] come up with a solution to that problem.”

Since June, Ofqual has been considering whether next year’s exams could be delayed and it’s Executive Director for general qualifications, said that this decision would need to be made in conjunction with the DfE and was aiming to publish its conclusion with the DfE in the coming weeks.